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The video below is a clip from the UFO Whistleblowers panel at the 2015 International UFO Congress, whose highlight that year was the reappearance of Bob Lazar after decades of avoiding the public arena. The panel was moderated by Open Minds’ Alejandro Rojas, and also featured Ruben Uriarte and Mark Pilkington, but the ones who really hijacked the spotlight were independent filmmaker Jeremy Corbell, and veteran UFOlogist Stanton Friedman (who announced his retirement last year).

The main reason why the ‘young gun’ and the ‘gray beard’ ended up butting heads: Whether Bob Lazar’s claims of having worked with non-terrestrial craft at the S-4 facility in Area 51 was worthy of consideration or not. Corbell has turned not only in George Knapp’s protegé but also the main defender of Lazar’s story –having produced two documentaries focused on the controversial ‘cosmic whistleblower’ under his filimg company Extraordinary Beliefs— whereas Friedman refuses to budge from his original position that Lazar is not worthy of credibility because he lied about his academic credentials; something Corbell seems disturbingly adamant to sweep under the rug as if it wasn’t that important…

During the debate Friedman kept insisting he didn’t deny the possibility that Lazar did work at Los Alamos –since his name was found on an old phone directory– but he was probably hired as a subcontractor working on a technical capacity, and not as team scientist. It’s very clear from the beginning Corbell is frustrated with the fact that Stan just wouldn’t move on past the embarrassing issue of Lazar’s education, and at one point he asks Friedman whether he would be willing to sit down and have a private conversation with Lazar, to see if talking to the man and putting his scientific knowledge to test would finally convince Stan that, despite his incapicity to prove he went to Caltech and MIT as he keeps claiming, Lazar could still have been able to work in a reverse-engineering program of alien technology. Friedman accepted the suggestion, but to my knowledge such an encounter between him and Lazar never materialized; one can only speculate as to why
after 3 years this never happened, but it’s not far-fetched to imagine it was because ultimately Lazar never accepted to the meetup.

On more recent interviews –especifically, on Coast to Coast with George Knapp, before the release of his latest film on Bob Lazar– Corbell showed a lot of disdain against the ‘UFO physicists’ (without giving any names) who keep questioning Lazar’s story, to the point of calling them ‘morons’ for just not being willing to take up on Lazar’s word. “I don’t care if Bob was homeschooled or not,” he told Knapp, “what I care about is whether he worked with flying saucers at S4.”

I would not consider myself to be the biggest fan of Stanton Friedman. In fact there are many theories and ideas he defends which I certainly don’t subscribe to –such as his unwillingness to entertain the possibility that the main core of the UFO phenomenon –discounting secret airplanes and misidentifications– may not necessarily have an extraterrestrial origin; or his decision to still defend the authenticity of the MJ-12 papers, when most contemporary researchers by now consider them to be forgeries –although perhaps produced with the intention to sow disinformation among the members of the UFO community. But to disregard Stan’s many decades of dedication to this field and what he has to say, just because it doesn’t fit with what you’re trying to sell feels incredibly disrespectful. Whether we like it or not, the onus remains on Lazar to provide evidence to back up his outlandish claims. The most easy-to-verify aspects of his story was his educational background, and so far that can only be traced back to his highschool years and some courses he took at a community college.

Did Lazar work at Los Alamos and Area 51? Quite possibly. Was he witness to incredibly exotic technologies that convinced him they were not of this Earth? Maybe. Did he lie about his educational credentials? Most likely. Was he used as an unwitting disinformation agent to disseminate a fantastic story for reasons he himself wouldn’t know? Everything he has told leads to that possibility: the oppresive working atmosphere; the feeding of information way beyond his need-to-know basis when he was shown a book explaining the origin of the aliens visiting Earth; walking a hallway and being told not to look around, which he inevitably did (why wasn’t he blindfolded?) and he managed to glimpse what looked like an alien being, yet even he conceded it could have been a dummy used as an evaluation; calling him at odd hours to report to work at the base, which put a strain in his marriage; even the harrassment suffered by him and a friend when they would find the doors of his car open, have all the hallmarks of a gaslighting operation specifically designed to put him on edge, and coax him to go public with what he had to say.

That, coupled with the ‘inconsistences’ of the supposed high level of security maintained to keep what would be the biggest secret in the US government –the fact his employers at S4 didn’t seem to mind he was friends with John Lear, one of the most prominent members of the UFO community at the time, and known to promulgate the most outlandish conspiracy theories; or the fact that Lazar managed to walk away (according to him) with a few grams of Element 115, supposedly the most valuable material on the planet, without being frisked on the spot– makes the story even more implausible.

My friend and colleague Michael M. Hughes is, aside from an accomplished author and a political activist, also a professional magician. Like many others who have dedicated years to hone their skills of sleight of hand, he knows one of the oldest and most counterintuitive rules of Magic: That the more intelligent a person is, the more easy it is to deceive.

…And if there’s one thing I agree with Corbell, is that Bob Lazar is a pretty smart guy.